Shoppers who passed through the dairy aisle at Grant’s Supermarket in Oak Hill on March 18 might not have noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Dairy manager Bob Black spent his 8-hour shift keeping things in order.

Had it been up to him, he would have passed the day as usual, quietly taking care of responsibilities he knows by now as second nature.

But it wasn’t an ordinary day,

When the 76-year-old clocked out at 5 p.m., he did so for the last time, retiring after 56 years of employment.

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Black’s wife Mary said her husband, who she described as a quiet man, thought about retiring in recent years, but only recently made the decision.

“He announced it a few weeks ago,” she said, of her husband of 53 years, adding, “It shocked us all.”

The Oak Hill native got his start when the store was the A&P and has worked under several ownerships and name changes including Value Plus, Pic-Pac and Galaxy.

During his career, he worked in several areas, but spent at least 40 years in the dairy department.

Grant’s Manager Dennis Ramsey, who Mary Black said formed a good relationship with her husband, spoke highly of Black.

“He’s just a fantastic guy,” he said. “All his peers love him. The customers love him. He’s just outstanding.”

Mary Black, who is retired from BB&T in Oak Hill, said she and her husband have no specific retirement plans, but look forward to spending time with family.

“We’re going to enjoy life,” she said. “No time clock and enjoy weekends with family doing things and attending we didn’t get to do.”

Ramsey said he knew Black would have preferred a quiet last day, but the day was marked with a small retirement party anyway.

“He’s a leader for all ages,” Ramsey said. “He’ll never be replaced. Someone will just take his job.”

 

 

— Email: mjames@register-herald.com

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